In his first two starts, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes started off hot, but, since then, he hasn’t had the same success. The Texas offense has only averaged 13.5 points per game in Swoopes’ first four games as a starter. Against Baylor, Swoopes threw two interceptions, failed to throw for at least 150 yards and fumbled the ball on the opposing one-yard line for the second consecutive week. Swoopes has been put in a difficult situation, as he is behind a makeshift offensive line and the running game has struggled. But the Longhorns need him to step up if they expect to beat Oklahoma and win at least six games to become bowl eligible.
For the second consecutive week, redshirt freshman center Jake Raulerson and Swoopes mishandled a snap and cost the Longhorns seven points. As a center, Raulerson’s first responsibility is to ensure the quarterback-center exchange happens without any issues. That hasn’t happened, and, now, Raulerson has to step up and play better. Raulerson, like Swoopes, has been put in a difficult situation. Raulerson, a native of Celina, Texas, was forced into action in replacement of senior center Dominic Espinosa, but the Longhorns’ makeshift offensive line needs him to lead by example, even if he is the youngest of the bunch.
Junior kicker Nick Rose made this list last week, but he is not the sole reason special teams have made an appearance again this week. For the second week in a row, Texas had a field goal blocked because the offensive line failed give Rose time and space to get enough height on the ball. The result was harmless against lowly Kansas, but, against Baylor, the outcome was disastrous — the Bears returned the blocked kick for a touchdown. A kick should never get blocked as easily as the past two have, and the protection on special teams needs to step up. Secondly, Texas needs explosive plays from its special teams. Senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley is a reliable punt returner and can be elusive, but he isn’t an explosive returner. The Longhorns relieved junior wide receiver Marcus Johnson of his kick returning duty in favor of sophomore wide receiver Jacorey Warrick, who may provide the added speed they need in the return game.